Media Release January 28, 2018
On Sunday, January 28, Westben asked a full house of supporters at the Clock Tower Cultural Centre to take a new look at Westben, to reimagine the Westben Arts Festival Theatre as the new WESTBEN Centre for Connection and Creativity through Music.
“As Westben approaches its twentieth anniversary in 2019, it is the perfect time to dream about what the next twenty years will look like,” stated Westben’s Artistic Director, Brian Finley. “And it’s unanimous! We all want to continue to nurture Westben into a thriving organization which will last well into the future.”
“Reimagining Westben as a Centre for Connection and Creativity through Music is the next logical step in the organization’s evolution,” states Martin Edge, Chair of the Westben Board.
As a Centre, Westben will focus on promoting a year-round convergence of people, ideas and activities through music.
“It has always been important to Westben to bring people together through music,” said Co-Founder and Marketing Director Donna Bennett. “Westben is known as the place for the community to meet, be creative, have fun and do projects together. Our evolution into a Centre will mean that we can develop many more ways of doing that, and do it year-round.”
So what’s new? Westben’s new strategy is essentially a natural evolution based on a fresh perspective. “As we evolve, we need to keep the way in which we look at Westben fresh.” says Finley. The new plan helps us reimagine Westben: instead of a summer music festival supported by year-round events, we imagine a year-round Centre that includes a summer music festival. As we refresh our perspective, we also open the door to new possibilities. While core programs will continue to evolve (e.g., Concerts at The Barn, the large ensembles, community events and educational activities etc.), year-round activities will be increased and intensified. Exciting new programs, based on new and current partnerships and needs, will be explored. In the immediate future, these include Residencies, House Concerts, and educational programs. Beyond that, it is wide open! We also will be developing methods to get Westben “out and around” including digital formats for communication and streaming, touring, co-productions, publishing and more.
There is also the economic benefit of Westben developing into a Centre. The Province of Ontario according to the TREIM model estimates that Westben currently generates at least $500,000 annually into the local economy. This will rise as Westben’s cultural impact increases. The Banff Centre, Stratford Festival, Glyndebourne and Tanglewood are all now known as cultural and economic powerhouses which attract and impact internationally. Like Westben, theses were born out of love, dedication and community.
“With this reimagining of Westben,” says Bennett, “the possibilities are endless. Key to the development is partnership.” “I hope our community knows how appreciated and vital it has been in bringing Westben to where it is today. And I also hope it realizes how vital it is to Westben’s future.”
Donna Bennett, Marketing Director & Co-Founder: firstname.lastname@example.org; 705-653-5508 x 203 or Toll Free 1--877-883 5777 x 203